Tuesday, January 12, 2016
El Chapo and Drug Prohibition
Sean Penn interview with Sinaloa cartel chief Guzmán that I mentioned in lecture. The Mexican drug wars have received extensive coverage, including excellent material from actual journalists and investigative organizations like ProPublica. See David Epstein's long piece, "How DEA Agents Took Down Mexico's Most Vicoius Drug Cartel,' on how you can win battles in the drug wars, like (again) arresting a kingpin like Guzmán, and still lose the war. Here's Epstein on El Chapo at Propublica. On the pointlessness of the drug war, see the exchange on Democracy Now. This interview and the one that follows covers the connection between the drug wars and the state of Mexican government and society. The noir era starts with Prohibition (of alcohol) in the United States in 1920 via constitutional amendment. Drug prohibition has been near-universal global policy ever since, with effects that many people, including conservative Latin American policymakers, now consider to be unacceptable. Is there a connection between the war on drugs, social underdevelopment and the massacre of students in the state of Iguala in 2014? More on this as the course unfolds.